Shaheen, Hassan Join Colleagues in Introducing Bipartisan Bill to Tear Down Unnecessary Barriers for Students with Disabilities

August 02, 2021

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Respond, Innovate, Succeed, and Empower (RISE) Act to help ease the transition from high school to college for students with disabilities. The legislation would amend the Higher Education Act (HEA) and clarify that students with previous documentation of a disability would be able to continue using that documentation as proof when they transition to higher education. This would help ensure that students who receive special education or accommodations because of a disability do not need to spend time and money to go through unnecessary new diagnostic testing.

In addition, the RISE Act would make school policies and data more transparent for students and families so that they can make informed decisions on the college that best fits their needs. The legislation also provides additional support for technical assistance to colleges and universities to better serve students with disabilities.

“I’m glad to be part of this bipartisan legislation to break down barriers facing students with disabilities. Our legislation would make a commonsense fix to the Higher Education Act so students with documented disabilities can use the same documentation for when they transition to higher education without a need for redundant testing to reaffirm their disability. Students and their families are resilient in tackling challenges in the education system, and the last thing they should have to endure are unnecessary administrative road blocks,” said Senator Shaheen.

“It makes no sense that students who experience disabilities, when transitioning to higher education, must again go through the process of obtaining documentation for their accommodations,” said Senator Hassan. “This bill would help cut red tape and empower students who experience disabilities to more easily access and transition to higher education. I am glad to work with my colleagues across the aisle on this commonsense bill, and I urge the Senate to pass it.”